I was driving to the post-office yesterday when a gentleman, nearly in the middle of the road, stood with his thumb out.  He seemed determined to get a ride.  I stopped, lowered my window and asked where he was wanting to go.  I thought I could not be much help since I was only going a couple miles, but it turned out he was also going to 7th street.

circulator bus stop

The Neighborhood Circulator Bus Stop

I told him to get in.  He rushed back to the curb to get his bag, while I removed the extra items off the passenger seat and secured my valuables.

Although many people are wary of hitchhikers I don’t let irrational fear hinder me from picking up people that need a ride or hitching a ride myself.  There are a couple of rules of thumb that I rely on.

First – always trust one’s intuition.  I don’t enter into situation that make me feel uneasy.  Acting from the gut and not rationalizing away uneasiness is the best way to proceed.

Second, always ask where the other person is going without giving away your information.  For instance, if I’d decided the gentleman I provided a lift for was “off” during our conversation, I could have simply said I’m not going where he wants to go and then driven off alone.

Now, I’m a little paranoid and always expect a threat.  This is a result of childhood trauma.  I don’t want to live my life from a paranoid place, but I do indulge myself a little.  Once the person is my car I make sure my purse or other valuables is not within their reach.  I also use my peripheral vision to keep an eye on them.

In this case, I picked up a man that I could easily overpower (assuming he did not have the same martial arts training I’ve got).  And, although I’ve gotten the intuitive assessment that he is just an old guy that needs a ride to the drug store, missed the free neighborhood circulator bus, and is burning up in the heat, I am still casually watching to see if he produces a weapon.  (I laugh at myself.)

This ride ended uneventfully at Walgreens, where he told me, “love ya” and gratefully exited my car.  I guess I am just an extension of the neighborhood circulator.  Feels good.


Neighborhood Flow

We had a few Easterly clouds this morning that kept the sun at bay for an extra hour and gave me an opportunity to satisfy my dog’s request for a morning walk.  She is not much of a walker, but she takes great joy in smelling things and hunting for stray pieces of partially eaten food.  We typically go over to the Family Services Center that borders our backyard.  They have a nice large parking lot and sometimes I let her roam off leash.

Today was one of those days.  I wanted to do my Tai Chi, so I let her run off and explore.  As it was Sunday, the usual homeless crowd was inhabiting the parking lot and eaves of the buildings.  Lots of people still sleeping, but a few up and milling around.

Sunnyslope Family Service Center Hatcher RoadI found a nice central location in the parking lot and began the Tai Chi form.  About five minutes into my form,  I noticed a tall woman in a sleeveless peach dress watching me.  Then, as she gracefully began to mimic my moves I could feel our connection.  She was stunning.  She was completely in the flow and beaming.  It was a beautiful moment.

I could feel my chronic anxiety as a tightness in my chest and abdomen.  She had none of that.  She seemed completely uninhibited.  And when I looked at her I could feel her flow.  It was like I was flowing.  She was just dancing with joy.  And I was connected to that.

I know this woman.  Although I don’t know her name.  She lives in my neighborhood.  The first time I saw her she was in the middle of the street in front of my house shouting at the house across the street.  It seemed like everyday for a week she would scream at the guy across the street and sometimes he would shout back at her.

I couldn’t figure why she chose to go by his house everyday when there were alternate routes to the bus stop and she seemed to dislike him so.  After a couple days I realized there was some dispute about missing property.  I also realized that she was getting some pay-off from the shouting matches.  They weren’t completely unpleasant for her.

Then, two weeks later I saw the same woman entering that guy’s house as if they were best of friends.  I marveled at the sight.  The actions of people are one of the mysteries of life.

This woman was just in the flow.  Whatever popped up she just went with it.  If it was anger, she was angry.  If it was Tai Chi, she was a zen master.  I imagined her moods could flip quickly and that she was unpredictable.

It seemed like she was just being, especially when compared to me.  I wonder how “enlightened being” is different from the state of just being she was in.

First enlightenment is characterized by no unpleasant emotions.  For me, being angry is an unpleasant experience.  I always assumed that enlightenment would mean the end of anger.  Hmmmm…. But for my friend it seemed like she might have found it pleasant.  Perhaps enlightenment could be getting angry and having it be joyful!  hahaha

No, I doubt that is the case.  Wisdom eliminates anger since it stops making any sense when you have the direct experience of how things are.  My friend is “being” in an unconscious sort of way.  It is awareness and consciousness that allows us to become fully liberated.  My friend is just a slave to her subconscious.